Japan's govt. chooses 'Reiwa' as new era name
NHK -- Apr 01
"Reiwa" is a name that will be on the lips of most Japanese today and it will be for years to come. It's the name the Japanese government has selected for the new era which is set to start when Crown Prince Naruhito becomes the new Emperor on May 1.

The announcement was highly anticipated here because it will define the years ahead, as well as play a daily role in people's lives.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, "We'll work towards getting the new era name widely accepted and deeply rooted in the lives of the Japanese people."

Suga says the new name was taken from Manyoshu, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry.

It comes from a passage that can be translated as:

"In early spring, the air is fresh and the wind is calm. The plum flowers are blooming like a beautiful woman applying white powder in front of the mirror. And the fragrance of flowers is like that of robes scented with incense."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the name represents the hope that every Japanese person will achieve their aspirations just like a plum flower flourishing after a severe winter.

He said, "Culture is nurtured when people beautifully bring their hearts together. REIWA has that meaning."

The government chose the new era name after going through numerous steps including discussions with an expert panel and heads of both houses of the Diet.

NHK has learned that the government submitted six name proposals to the experts. The final decision was made by all ministers in a Cabinet meeting.

Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate on April 30 which will end the current "Heisei" era.

The government is announcing the new name in advance so companies and the general public can prepare for the change.

The era name is used on numerous occasions and official papers including drivers' licenses, health insurance cards, and calendars.

It will be the first time the character, "rei," is used in an era name. The second, "wa," has been used 19 previous times.

新元号は「令和」。菅官房長官が発表。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
Apr 20
The world's smallest baby boy, who was born in October in Japan weighing as much as an apple, is now ready for the outside world, his doctor said Friday. (Japan Today)
Apr 20
A woman and her young daughter have died after being struck by a passenger car driven by an 87-year-old man in downtown Tokyo. (NHK)
Apr 20
A law recognizing the Ainu ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan has been enacted. (NHK)
Apr 19
Those hoping to watch a tennis match featuring No. 1-ranked Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games will likely face long odds in the upcoming ticket lottery. (Nikkei)
Apr 18
Can the country welcome 60 million visitors a year without losing its culture -- and its mind? (Nikkei)
Apr 18
A pharmaceutical science professor at a university in Shikoku was referred to prosecutors Tuesday for allegedly instructing his students to produce the synthetic drug MDMA without a permit, the university said Tuesday, in an echo of hit TV series “Breaking Bad.” (Japan Times)
Apr 18
Tissue paper and other daily products sold at Osaka Prison are so expensive that inmates mostly cannot purchase them, a situation amounting to a human rights violation, according to local lawyers. (Japan Times)
Apr 17
The Japanese government plans to proceed with printing new banknotes matching the sample designs it released, even though some people have pointed out that one of the portraits used is different from the probable source photo. (NHK)
Apr 17
For fans, athletes, and volunteers, next year's Tokyo Olympics could become known as the get-up-early games. (Japan Today)
Apr 17
Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, has erupted. (NHK)